South Park finale: trolls create chaos by 'bringing out the worst in humanity'

The end of a particularly topical season has an orange-faced president struggling to deal with the power of the trolls who got him elected

The season finale of South Park.
The season finale of South Park. Photograph: Comedy Central

The final episode of South Park’s serialized 20th season picked up where we left off last week: in the midst of an international crisis caused by bunch of trolls (of both the presidential and garden-variety).

In the Pentagon, the “stank face” and be-oranged President Garrison is told that the Russians are scrambling bombers to attack Denmark in retaliation for Troll Trace, the program that will allow anyone to look up anyone else’s internet history that will go online in minutes.

But, it seems there’s still hope! Someone is leading a coordinated cyberattack on the Troll Trace website: it’s Kyle Broflovsky, back in South Park, and he’s enlisted all of his classmates (and his brother Ike) for help trolling, responding to or coming up with terrible things to say online in order to create more trolls than Troll Trace can log.

At Troll Trace HQ, Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up is still playing on repeat as Gerald Broflovsky waits, naked and depressed, in the company’s glassed-in dining room. Dildo Scaggins, the other naked trolls and the Danish employees of Troll Trace break through the transmission to explain that the program should go online soon but that someone else’s mass-trolling is overwhelming the Troll Trace servers – and it’s coming from Gerald’s account.

Dildo and the Danish eventually get in touch with Kyle and offer their assistance, telling Kyle that he’s mastered Trevor’s Axiom, but Kyle doesn’t know what that is.

Neither does President Garrison, who is being briefed on it at the Pentagon. The briefer explains that, when person A trolls person B, the actual target is person C, who will self-righteously overreact. Person C’s overreaction is designed to stimulate persons D, E and F to make fun of them, and persons G-N to rip on persons D-F, and so on, “all bringing out the worst in humanity”.

“Huh,” says Cheeto Garrison. “That sort of sounds like how I got elected.”

At SpaceX, the crowd that wants to go to Mars to escape Troll Trace is growing restless; inside, Cartman’s girlfriend Heidi has successfully created a cheap and easy power source that can take them to Mars. Elon Musk asks how she got to be so smart, and Heidi says, “I just have a boyfriend who really supports me,” waving at Eric.

Eric, though, is sulking: he has been convinced by Butters that Heidi is part and parcel of the conspiracy against men first outlined by Bill Clinton after Hillary Clinton’s election night loss. He and Butters explain to a male SpaceX employee that they can’t go to Mars because of the visions of Mars that Cartman has been having all season finally make sense.

South Park (@SouthPark)

And you'll be trapped down there forever. In the cum and joke mines of Mars. #SouthPark #SeasonFinale

December 8, 2016

Cartman says that the Mars colony will seem really cool until you notice that all the other visible colonists are women. “Men have been forced underground, deemed useless by women” Cartman intones. “They are mined for the only things women still need us for: our semen and our jokes. And you’ll be trapped down there forever, in the cum- and joke-mines of Mars.”

Back at Troll Trace HQ, Dildo tells Gerald that someone must turn off the breakers that will keep the servers from overheating, and, so, dressed in a Danish uniform that resembles the outfit of a garden gnome, Gerald starts turning off the breakers. The mega-troll flying away in a helicopter checks his phone to see Gerald scaling the tower, and turns back.

Sheila Broflovsky, enraged at being locked in the pantry by her sons so that they can troll, frees herself and, slightly crazed, grounds both her sons from the computer forever. Kyle says, “I’m just trying to save my family” and, strapping something on his back and grabbing Ike, flies out the window.

Kyle and Ike make their way to the town copy shop to continue their trolling on a public terminal. Garrison interrupts, telling him the federal government will help amplify the hate he’s spreading to shut down the internet completely.

Sheila goes by another house to find the boys (as people run around, panicking, in the background), but discovers her friend weeping: Troll Trace has gone online, and the other mother looked up her husband’s history. Sheila sits down and looks up Ike to discover … he has no history of trolling, just like the boys said. She feels first guilty and then relieved that Ike was telling the truth, but the other mother wants someone to share her pain. She tries to get Sheila to look up Gerald’s history, both of them blissfully unaware that Gerald is the online troll whose activities have nearly triggered an apocalyptic event.

Back at SpaceX, Cartman is trying to solve his conundrum: stay on earth and let Heidi discover that he doesn’t think women are funny, or be enslaved in the cum-and-joke mines of Mars when Kyle calls Butters and finds out about SpaceX’s enormous energy source. “I think we can help each other,” he tells Cartman because, without Heidi’s power source, the Pentagon doesn’t have enough power to destroy Troll Trace. They execute a plan to allow the Pentagon to tap into the source without the SpaceX employees becoming aware.

At Troll Trace HQ, Gerald has found the last breaker – at the end of a totally unnecessary and Star Wars-like bridge – but the mega-troll has beat him there. As the building shakes and heaves around them, they debate whether the mega-troll is truly a satirist or just a nihilist. Gerald finally says that he’s learned his lesson, because he sees himself in the mega-troll, “with only one minor difference”. He then knees the mega-troll in the balls and tosses him off the bridge. “Fuck you! What I do is fucking funny, bitch!” he yells after him, and pulls the final lever to make sure the Troll Trace servers can overheat.

Dildo tells Kyle that Gerald’s finished his mission, Kyle tells Garrison, and Garrison tells the Pentagon to re-route the internet through SpaceX. SpaceX explodes, and the internet goes out just as Sheila presses enter to pull up Gerald’s internet history.

Elon Musk, the SpaceX employees and the kids watch as the building goes up. “Well, looks like you’ll kind of have to start over, huh, Elon?” says Cartman. “Maybe you should just go back to your little cars, huh?”

Back in South Park, a new day dawns as Kyle narrates that the internet has been completely erased. Gerald arrives home, and gets hugs from Sheila as the boys glare at him.

The town is seen watching the local news cover the first email sent on the new internet, an honor accorded the elderly Dave Beckett of Boca Raton, Florida. He explains he sent a picture to an old friend, and the reporter asks what precisely it was. “I showed him my dick, called him a fag,” says Beckett – because you can reboot the internet, but you can’t reboot humanity.